Worship Ministry: Finding the Balance between Hands and Heart

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We have not been created to worship but created as worshippers.
The difference is that we don’t choose when we worship and when we don’t.
The truth is we are always worshipping.
The question is what are we worshipping?

Col. 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”

You never are just doing your duty.
You never are just cranking it out.
You never are just going through the motions…

When we fail to see the glory of the King of the universe, we bring Him our leftovers.

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Break every chain

So this last Sunday was an interesting one…
I usually spend 2-3 hours on a Wednesday morning preparing for Sunday’s worship. You know, praying, worshipping, and flicking through my music file…

I must say sometimes selecting songs seems un-spiritual. Sometimes i feel i need to hear God speak almost audibly before I pick one out.

But most times I’ll just be paging through my file and a song will jump out at me. Like as if it’s saying, you need to sing me. Yes, me.

So by lunch time last week Wednesday I pretty much had our Sunday setlist down. I had a rough idea of where I planned our worship to go, trusting that I’d been hearing God through prayer and stuff…

I woke up Sunday morning to re-read through the setlist, read through the book of Ephesians again (more about that later) and pray.

God said, “You need to sing Break Every Chain.”
I was like, really? Ok sure.

Instead of spending Sunday morning before Church doing our sound-check and working through our setlist, I quickly taught the song to the band, me being the ONLY one who has EVER heard it.

The team were on it like no man’s business. We had it taped in 30min, and it not only sounded great, but there was an expectation in all of us that God was going to move powerfully that day. And He did.

I love it when God springs surprises on me.

I love it when He stretches me and the team.

I love it that when we think we have it all figured, God comes in and messes things up.

Isn’t that what leading worship in faith is all about? Reminding ourselves that we can’t and should not do what we do in our own wisdom and strength?

I love it.

Here are the chords to the song. Really simple but profoundly powerful.

Break Every Chain
Words & music by Will Reagan and United Pursuit Band [we do the Jesus Culture version]
Time: 4/4 | BPM: 68

Intro: F#m – D – A – E

F#m    D                       A   E
There is power in the name of Jesus
F#m    D                       A   E
There is power in the name of Jesus
F#m    D                       A   E
There is power in the name of Jesus
F#m
To break every chain
D
Break every chain
A – E
Break every chain

F#m   D          A – E
All sufficient sacrifice
F#m     D        A         E
So freely given such a price
F#m        D                 A           E
Bought our redemption, Heaven’s gates
F#m – D – A – E
Swing wide

There’s an army rising up…

The Hour Before

This post stems from a list of articles that worship pastors have written on what their hour (or so) before leading worship looks like. This is my story.

At home:

It’s 5:00am and my alarm goes off. One of the most irritating sounds ever.
I am not a morning person. My wife is, but not me. I like to stay up late and swap manly stories, hoping my wife will make waffles in the morning.

I drag myself out of bed, put on some ugly but comfortable clothes and make my first cup of coffee. A big one.
Grab my Bible and head to the lounge to read and wake up… in that order.

I’m not really preparing for worship. It just feels like the right thing to do. And it is.
It’s my time with God. Spending time with my Father and trying my best to catch His heart for our meeting.

During the week, usually on a Wednesday morning, I would have spent about 2-3 hours in worship, prayer and reading. This is when I would be putting my songlist together for our Sunday meeting. I’ll load the schedule into Planning Center, send the team an email and tweet my setlist.

So Sunday morning at home I’m re-reading the song words, reading Scripture, double checking the song order and transitions and making sure I have a good idea on what to expect when it comes to our band working together.

My wife and our kids are usually up at around 6:00am so I have to and want to be done by then. I’ll pack my Bible and music file away, grab some breakfast with the family and have a shower before my ride arrives at around 6:40am.

At Church:

We arrive at Church by 6:55am along with pretty much the rest of the team. Our sound engineer would be there by 6:30am to switch the amps and desk, lights, PC and other stuff on so we can get going with our sound check at 7:00am.

Once everyone’s tuned and setup we get going. We usually work through any new song first to keep it fresh for the morning, then we’ll work through the rest of the setlist in the order we’ll lead it. Making sure we have the song transitions down, double checking the song order and pretty much be done by 7:55am just in time to join the prayer meeting at 8:00am.

We pray from 8:00-8:15am and then spend the next 10min hanging with the folk who’ve arrived.
I don’t want the band on stage during this time. I like them to mingle with people seeing they’ll be leading them in worship that morning.

8:25am we’re on stage doing final tunings and getting ready for the 8:30am kick-off.
We usually prepare to lead 5 songs but normally we don’t get through all of them, which I enjoy. Most times God comes and changes things around. Hey, don’t sing that song, rather this one. Or if a certain contribution is brought and read out, or a passage is highlighted during worship, I’m racking my brain trying to think how we can emphasize that through a song…

It’s all pretty crazy leading worship. There are a hundred things going through my head at the time:
Is the band tight?
Are we keeping in time with the click?
We’re coming up the second bridge. Is the band going to remember to change key?
Are the drums too loud?
Am i smiling?
How does the next verse start again?
Should we go into the song we’re prepared to do next or should I take a risk and go with what I feel God is stirring?
Am I worshipping God?

Then it’s over.
And it was awesome.
I love it.
And next week we get to do this again.